Skip to main content

Full text of "My Country And My People"

See other formats


)8          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

The important thing about willows is that their branches

hang down, for if they did not hang down, they would not be

willows. It is important that the branches be long, for otherwise

they cannot sway gracefully in the wind. What then would be

the use of their hanging down? This tree is a place where the

cicadas love to rest, as well as the birds. It is to the credit of

this tree that we often hear music in the air and do not feel

lonely in summer. Especially is this the case with tall willow

trees. In short, the planting of trees is not only to please the

eye, but also to please the ear as well.  The pleasure of the

eye is sometimes limited because we are lying down on a bed,

On the other hand, the ear can take its pleasure all the time.

The most lovely notes of the birds are not heard when we

are sitting but when we are lying down. Everyone knows that

the birds' songs should be heard at dawn, but does not know

why they should be heard at dawn, as people do not think

about it. The birds are continually afraid of the shooting gun,

and after seven o'clock in the morning all the people are up

and the birds no longer feel at ease. Once they are on their

gtiard they can never sing whole-heartedly, and even if they

sing their song cannot be beautiful. That is why daytime is

not the proper time for listening to the birds.  At dawn the

people are not up yet, with the exception of a few early risers.

Since the birds are then free from worry, naturally they can

finish their song at ease.   Besides, their tongues have been

lying idle for the whole night, and are now itching to try their

skill.  Consequently, when they sing they sing with the full

gladness of their hearts.  Chuangtse was not a fish and could

understand the happiness of the fish; Liweng is not a bird

and can understand the happiness of the birds.  All singing

birds should regard me as their bosom friend. . . . There

are many points about the planting of trees, but there is one

point which is an annoyance to the cultivated.  When the

tree-leaves are too thick they shut out the moonlight, like

shutting off a beauty from our view.   The trees cannot be

held guilty of this, because it is the men who are at fault. If

we could spend a thought on this point at the time of

planting trees, and allow a corner of the sky to be shown

behind them in order to wait for the rising and setting of the